Bleu de Gex

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Photo of Bleu de Gex Cheese

Myrabella / CC BY-SA 3.0 & GFDL

Bleu de Gex, also known as Bleu du Haut-Jura or Bleu de Septmoncel, is a blue-veined cheese made from raw cow's milk. Its history dates back to the 13th century, with origins in the Jura Mountains. Developed by monks at the Abbaye de St. Claude, it was a favorite of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1530. Despite being lesser-known among blue cheeses, Bleu de Gex was the first to receive official protection in 1935. It earned its AOC status in 1977 and AOP status in 1996.

Today, about fifty farmsteads in the Haut-Jura Mountains supply milk to the four dairies producing Bleu de Gex, totaling 550 tons annually. This cheese exclusively uses milk from Montbéliarde or Simmental cows, grazing on the rich pastures of the region. This diet contributes to the cheese's aromatic diversity.

The production of Bleu de Gex remains traditional, with the cheese hand-molded into rounds. Each cheese, about 14–15 inches in diameter, weighs between 13 and 20 pounds. The cheese is dry-salted and matures for at least twenty-one days, including at least eighteen days in a cellar. Piercing the cheese helps develop its blue veins.

Bleu de Gex is mainly consumed locally, often featured alongside Comté and Morbier. It's known for its mild blue cheese flavor, with hazelnut and mushroom aromas and a slight tang. It can be enjoyed cold, in sauces, or melted in a raclette.

Named after the Pays de Gex, this semi-soft blue cheese is made following strict guidelines, including using only Montbéliard cow milk. It's milder and younger than other French blue cheeses. Each wheel is marked with "Gex." However, due to US regulations on "soft cheese," Bleu de Gex cannot be sold in the United States.

Important Facts

Country of Origin France
Specific Origin Haut-Jura, Bourg-en-Bresse
Certification AOC (1977), AOP (1996)
Milk Type Cow
Milk Treatment Unpasteurized
Rind Natural, brushed
Texture Creamy
Flavor Mild, with a hint of mushroom
Colors Ivory with blue-green veins
Forms Wheels
Age 3 weeks minimum
Rennet Type Animal
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